Comparing RAW converters: JPEG vs. Lightroom, Capture One, Silkypix & RPP


by Rico Pfirstinger

NOTE: This article has been edited to add Raw Photo Processor (RPP) and Lightroom 4.4RC to the comparison.

Yesterday, Richard Butler of DPREVIEW fame published an article comparing several X-Trans compatible RAW converters. You can download the RAW file of this demo shot yourself by following the link above. Just scroll down to the end of the DPREVIEW article.

This is an X-Pro1 in-camera JPEG of the original demo shot that was used in the article.

DPR Tram DR200% Astia (in-camera JPEG)

You can click on the image for larger views including full-size. Strangely enough, Richard used a DR200% shot (= a RAW that is underexposed by 1 EV) and film simulation mode Astia. Since Astia offers a different color gradation and more shadow contrast than the camera’s standard (default) Provia setting, this version of the demo image is actually not very suitable for comparing external RAW converters with their respective default settings, which will typically try to mimic the camera’s default settings and look. So let’s do a better job, shall we?

This is the same file as before, now developed in-camera with the X-Pro1’s Provia film simulation mode, using the camera’s default JPEG settings:

DPR Tram DR200% Provia (in-camera JPEG)

Again, click on the image to get to larger views on Flickr. As the demo shot was taken in DR200%, the camera’s internal RAW converter automatically adjusted shadow tones and darker midtones to compensate for the RAW’s -1 EV underexposure, while leaving the highlight tones intact (click here for a more elaborate discussion of how to extend dynamic range). As you can see, Provia offers less shadow contrast than Astia, so the shot looks a bit flatter and also “less sharp”, because increased contrast will give a (false) impression of increased sharpness. So let’s forget about the Astia JPEG shown in the DPREVIEW article. Let’s instead make this Provia JPEG our reference image and compare it with the results of three external RAW converters: Lightroom 4.3, Capture One 7.0.2 (release version) and Silkypix 5.

Here’s a screenshot showing a 100% crop of this Provia JPEG. Click on it to go to Flickr for a full-size viewing option:

DPR Tram DR200% Provia detail screenshot

Now that our benchmark image is established, let’s have a look at its Lightroom 4.3 version. Lightroom/ACR recognizes the camera’s DR settings (stored as metadata in the RAW file) and automatically compensates (at least partially) for it in its default import settings. Again, click on the pic for larger views:

** CLICK HERE to Read the Rest of the Article **

Faster, Wider, Sharper: Speed Booster for your X-series


speed booster

Just came back from work, checked my emails and saw that many readers linked me the same news (thanks guys!).

Faster, wider and sharper, and it’s no April Fool’s, as Philip Bloom says here in his review about the Speed Booster! Take a look also at and take your time to read the PDF about it here… how to turn your APS-C into a Full Frame ;-). To every early adapter out there, send your first impressions to Fujirumors and tell us if it keeps what it promises.

It will be available soon for US$599 / £372 plus shipping and applicable taxes and duties.


Capture One 7.0.2 officially released today at 14.00 CET


Capture One X-Trans Support

Here is the email I received yesterday from Lionel of the C1 team: Let’s see what the final version of C1 can get out of the X-Trans RAF files.

“Dear Beta Customer.

The beta of Capture One 7.0.2 [download page] has now ended. The terms of the beta will terminate on Monday Jan 14, 2013, at 14.00 CET, where Capture One 7.0.2 will be officially released. Thank you all very much for the participation in making Capture One an even better piece of software. In particular I want to thank all who contributed with comments and raw images.

Lionel Kuhlmann Ph.D.
Phase One”
C1 offers the possibility to download a 60 days free trial version, for all those who prefer to try it out first.
P.S. Here is codyhatch’s  lightroom vs capture one beta comparison.


Prototype: carbon fiber grips to ennoble your X-camera


You wanna pimp your X-camera? Then maybe you could be interested in this kind of rumor…

HRR Manufaktur is a company specialized in individual upgrades and ennoblement of different products. One of the next projects is to offer customized parts for Fuji cameras (or even completely modified cameras). In this post you can see some images of early prototype samples of X-Pro1 grips that replace the original rubber grip on the camera.

The price for a hand grip will likely be 89 €. For a fully upgraded camera (including the original camera, but not a lens) the price should be of below 3000 €. The company can do almost anything with any product, but the main focus regarding Fuji for now is on the X-PRO1 and the X-E1.

These replacements will be available in classic Carbon Fibre, but also in different colours and other styles/materials.

You can see a fully HRR customized Leica M9 on the website here.

P.S.: You’d like to ennoble your X-E1 spending just a few pennies? I’ve already posted how to do it here. ;-)
hand grip 1

hand grip 2

hand grip 3



XF14mmF2.8 R appears to be almost distortion free


by Rico Pfirstinger

I may have found some interesting news about the 14mm prime. Comparing the uncorrected version of a shot with its software corrected SOOC JPEG version reveals that Fuji’s new XF14mmF2.8 R prime lens is apparently almost perfectly optically corrected. This means that the lens doesn’t really need any substantial software corrections which typically have a negative impact on image quality, particularly near the edges of an image.

Have a look at this example (click on the images for high-res versions):

DSCF6742 - RPP (no lens correction)


The image above was developed in RPP 64, a Russian RAW converter based on DCRAW that does not interpret or apply any optical correction metadata that the camera is storing in a RAW files.

The image below is a JPEG straight out of the camera that includes all software corrections in the metadata, since the internal RAW converter of the cameras does of course interpret and apply optical correction metadata stored in the RAW files.

It appears that there are only minimal differences between both versions. This suggests that the 14mm is already fully corrected in the lens and does not need any significant additional software corrections. This is good news, as it suggests that the lens (the examples are from a not yet fully suppoerted pre-production sample) will perform well not only in the center, but also near the edges of an image.

EDIT: To wrap things up, here’s also a Silkypix 5 version of this sample:

DSCF6742 - SIlkypix 5

Since Silkypix is actually using lens correction metadata in the RAW file, this result pretty much overlaps with the SOOC JPEG.

If you want to see more 14mm samples, have a look at my Flickr set.

Rico Pfirstinger studied communications and has been working as journalist, publicist, and photographer since the mid-80s. He has written a number of books on topics as diverse as Adobe PageMaker and sled dogs, and produced a beautiful book of photographs titled Huskies in Action (German version). He has spent time working as the head of a department with the German Burda-Publishing Company and served as chief editor for a winter sports website. After eight years as a freelance film critic and entertainment writer in Los Angeles, Rico now lives in Germany and devotes his time to digital photography and compact camera systems. His book “Mastering the FUJIFILM X-Pro1” (Kindle Edition) (Apple iBook Store) (German version) is available on Amazon and offers a plethora of tips, secrets and background information on successfully using Fuji’s X-Pro1 and X-E1 system cameras, lenses and key accessories.